A year of policing during Covid-19: Detective Sergeant Nadia Rana
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This week, some of our officers and staff are sharing their stories of what the past 12 months has meant for them – both professionally and personally – as they have continued to work in their roles throughout a global pandemic.
Today, Detective Sergeant Nadia Rana shares her story.
I’ll be completely honest and say that the initial talks of having a national lockdown is something that I took with a pinch of salt and I genuinely thought the lockdown would last a short time. I recall watching PM Boris Johnson on the television with my family when he announced the country would be closing and the despair, panic and upset in my children’s faces at the thought of schools closing during such a critical stage of their education and complete confusion about what lay ahead. At that time I just couldn’t seem to imagine having such a lockdown and life changing so drastically.
But as that initial announcement sunk in I guess the reality that there was a very real threat of a killer virus started to sink in and the threat this posed to my family and colleagues.
My main role and routine at the time of this announcement, as a DS within the City CID department, didn’t change as I still attended work daily, as did my team. Working alongside my Neighbourhood Police Officer and Dedicated Neighbourhood Officer colleagues who were out and about and keeping our communities safe on the ground did genuinely cause me to worry for them. They were the ones who were out in our communities daily, putting themselves at risk of not only the normal day to day threats and violence that officers face but with the additional threat of criminals who purposefully spat and coughed in their faces, threatening to expose them to this virus which, at the time, we didn’t know much about.
My team were dealing direct with our victims and suspects and being faced with spending hours in interview rooms with strangers, never knowing if they would be at risk. Our force ensured we had sufficient stocks of PPE, however the effectiveness of this PPE is seriously compromised when dealing with violent individuals. Regardless of this everyone worked hard….harder even. Despite the risks to them they bonded as a team, ploughed through it, supported one another and kept the people in our communities as safe as they possibly could. As lockdown then continued, we continued to find inventive new ways of obtaining and collecting evidence and staying in touch with our victims remotely to keep them as safe as we could. We were constantly changing working practices to ensure we got justice for our victims and safeguarded those who were most at risk.
"This pandemic made me realise and appreciate just how much of a police family we really are"
Everyone worked really hard, as always. However, to ensure we all stuck to the rules and kept ourselves safe meant we weren’t able to do things that we historically would have. Simple things such as taking time away from our desks to eat with one another in the canteen, to have time to decompress and rest couldn’t and still can’t take place. Whilst a lot of things have changed, the thing that remains constant is how hard we all work, how we all stick together, how we back each other up, support one another when we feel low (people often forget we are humans) and how we remain a united team. This pandemic made me realise and appreciate just how much of a police family we really are.
Personally, like a lot of people, I had a list of events, training/courses, holidays, days out etc that I had planned for 2020 which were completely abandoned. Significant events that we as a family had planned were scrapped. My daughters didn’t get their birthday parties, sweet 16 was celebrated in the garden, prom was cancelled, holidays…cancelled. The fear and the unknown about the upcoming GCSE results, worrying about our children’s education and future opportunities all played a significant part in how this affected me during the beginning.
However, despite that I genuinely think there were many positive new ways of working and living that we have been forced to adopt such as agile working which offers much more flexibility to people - although I am rather looking forward to having meetings and face to face interactions with my colleagues and the community again one day in the future.
Most importantly for me personally was the quality time I’ve had with my little family at home. I realise I am in such a fortunate position to have spent lockdown with them. And that downstairs loo that I’ve been banging on at my other half to decorate has finally been done. He’s even gone as far as making a new dining table and some garden furniture so it’s not all that bad, plus my dogs have never been happier!
But the one thing that I am definitely most looking forward to when I am able to is being able to give my friends and family (outside of my bubble) the biggest hug that I have ever given them!